Mike's Minute: Did you expect anything different from a Labour majority?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 May 2021, 9:45AM

Mike's Minute: Did you expect anything different from a Labour majority?

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 21 May 2021, 9:45AM

What we have seen from the government this week, both in terms of the immigration reset and the Budget, is classic Labour.

For that you can't blame them.

You blame them for wasting our money. The figures this week on MIQ bills owed is a scandal. It's millions of our dollars. Dollars we didn’t even have in the first place and not being collected because they ran another of their dazzlingly incompetent high trust models.

That’s Labour. Hopelessly disconnected from the real world. But the recent announcements over fair pay deals are right up their alley and, more importantly, things they said they would do.

The fact they struggle to deliver is an issue that will be debated in 2023 towards the election. That will be part of a two-bit debate.

First part, the delivery or its lack of. And the second part, the ideological battle that will have opened up. It's between the classic redistribution agenda and what presumably National and ACT put up. A classic centre-right series of polices, involving working harder, being more responsible for your own actions, and being rewarded for doing well.

For an observer, this is classic politics. And in a way, we are lucky to be a part of it. For the past 20 years or more this country has had two parties scrapping for the centre.

From Jenny Shipley to Jim Bolger, and Helen Clark the middle was gold. It's still gold. Tony Blair, Bob Hawke, or Paul Keating will tell you that. But Labour here struggled to defeat National for three terms because National had the centre ground.

But this government is doing what classic left-leaners do. In the second term, you go for broke, driven by an ideology that won't be shaken. It's ultimately fatal. That's why Labour governments never last.

But they have a majority the likes of which they will never see again. So, they will not die wondering, they will lose wondering. At least they will be able to assuage themselves in the knowledge that they had their day, they gave it a crack, and sort of did what they said they would.

The gap between this Labour version and National hasn’t been wider for years. It's a clean, clear choice, the field isn't muddled, and the policies don’t overlap. You either like what's going on or you don’t. You're either loving this and want more, or you don’t.

Most, of course, don’t know right now and we won't be really debating it for 24 months. But most will, come September-ish 2023.

You will need to have been around a while to remember a vote that’s as clear cut as this next one will be.